Just like the good old days...

I had the opportunity today to work with a couple government agencies today, a pleasure I haven't had for about a year and a half now. I guess part of a 'paper pregnancy' is forgetting how much fun that is.

Here's the run down:

9:15am - Midnight: Tried unsuccessfully throughout the day to fill out and submit some fairly straight-forward forms online. Keep in mind that those of us who fix computers for a living would rather strap an angry woodchuck to our nether regions than go into an office and say, "I know the form is available online, but it didn't work for me." Seriously though, I couldn't do it. Chris couldn't do it. When you click 'Continue' and you get '404' it's not our fault, that's just bad programming. Anyway it only took 15 hours for me to swallow my cyber-pride. I think that's a record.

8am: Drive 35 minutes to Government Agency #1.
8:40 Find the paper version of the form and fill it out while standing in the right line (because I'm a pro)
9:00 Realize that I only have one form of identification on me.
9:05 Get back in the car, go to Government Agency #2 to request a replacement ID card.
9:20 Read the sign that says I have insufficient identification on me to make said request.
9:25 Start to drive home to get passport which 'should' make it unnecessary to get the replacement ID card that Agency #1 wants so badly.
9:26 Call the Agency's 800 number in hopes that I can request the necessary ID without producing any actual forms of ID.
9:29 After multiple verbal menus, I'm told to fill out a form at my local agency office... so I continue home.
9:45 Jump back in the car (with passport) and drive 30 minutes back to Government Agency #2
10:20 Arrive at agency #2 and get my number. Sign at the front counter says, "Average wait time 20 minutes."
10:55 Number is called. (I've always been above average...) and I go up to the window.
10:57 Request for replacement ID is processed and I'll get it in the mail in 7-10 business days. Which is fine, except I want it today.
11:10 Drive back to Agency #1 with my drivers license, passport, the properly filled out form, and a receipt from Agency #2 saying I tried to get more ID.
11:15 Join the fray. For some reason this particular 'line' wasn't very linear.
11:25 I hear the one of the workers tell another client that she needed a photo ID and document with his Social Security number on it. My passport does not show my SSN and I don't carry my card around, so I'm hosed.
11:26 Call Chris to see if she can dig out a W-2 or something and drive it over to me. She says she can but it would take her a while to get the kids ready. That's wife-code for, "You're on your own buddy."
11:27 Digging through my bag, which I had with me the whole time, I find an obscure insurance form that conveniently has my SSN in bold on the front page.
11:31 I'm sitting in front of an agent.
11:38 Form submitted, accepted, and I'm in my car for the 35 minute trip home.

Futile online time: 12+ hours
Car time: 1.5 hours.
Standing in line time: 1 hour
Unnecessary trips to Government Agency #2 for unnecessary forms of ID: 2
Face time: 4 minutes

Ahhh brings me right back to the adoption days. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some kind of fingerprinting mishap. I don't know whether to be really frustrated that I wasted a day and a half dealing with paperwork that really only required 4 minutes of productive time (less had the internet not failed me) or if I should be relieved that I actually finished in under 5 years.

Either way, I'm glad that part's over.


Ethiopian Peace Accord

Today, an issue that has been brewing between the 2 Ethiopian factions came to a head.

Both parties complained of being awakened by the other party to use the bathroom at night. Tired of this particular argument, I went into Diplomatic Mode to get to the bottom of the problem. Both parties vehemently denied waking up the other party during the night, and yet both stuck to their original complaint that it was the OTHER party at fault.

I'll spare you the conversation, although it was hilarious. The breakdown went like this: Yordanos had stopped waking Habtamu up when she had to do #1, but she DOES wake him up when she has to do #2. Habtamu, alternately, does NOT wake up Yordanos when he has to do #2, but DOES wake her up to do #1.

The following treaty has been proposed and accepted by all parties, and goes into effect tonight:

No one will wake anyone up to use the bathroom at night for either #1 or #2. And both parties will remember how much they dislike being woken up when deciding whether to wake up the other party.

The only acceptable reasons for waking up either party:
b) persons unknown breaking into their 2nd floor bedrooms
c) bats flying in room


Because Daddy's Psychic

Yordanos: *BURRUFFT!!!*
Lee: I see you opened the whoopie cushion Santa left in your stocking.
Yordanos: Yep! It puff sounds puff-puff funny. (3 small squeezes) *Brft-Barfft-BrrAFT*
Habtamu: Me too! (Sets whoopie cushion on the floor)
Lee: You know... those really weren't made to be stepped on. It won't last very long if you keep stomping on it. You'll be sad when yours breaks and your sister still has one to to play with.
Habtamu: I know. puff-puff (Sets whoopie cushion back on the floor)
Habtamu (picking up the cushion and putting his finger in the gaping hole): It's broken.
Lee: Didn't see that one coming, huh?

Chris giggles
Yordi continues pooting away in the other room
Aaand curtain!



I know I should blog, but I just don't feel like it. I should have written a Christmas letter, or made New Year's resolutions or something... just couldn't work up the energy. This is a hard time of year for me to get excited about. I know, I know... CHRISTMAS! I actually like Advent better... being a more contemplative time.

I have to say I'm relieved to be back in our regularly scheduled life. It works better for the kids and for me. We only had one really big meltdown from Habtamu this whole season... pretty much this whole winter. He was, you guessed it, hungry, tired, and in transition, and his sister called him "mean" for changing the rules of his own game to suit himself. So, he sat by himself at McDonald's without his lunch (his choice) while we finished up eating and I tried to remain calm myself, since I just wanted to yell (which never, ever helps).

The kids are typical American children now. Sigh. They had their Christmas lists prepared in advance and when it was all over, had the gall to say those words spoken by children everywhere in lands of plenty: "Is that all?"

We spent the weekend after New Year's at a cabin with Lee's folks and his sister and her family, which now includes the cutest baby in the universe. Yordanos did not bring her new doll, because, "Baby Jovie will be there... SHE'S my American Girl Doll." So we talked late into the night, watched movies, played games, worked puzzles, and played Wii until our brains were pleasantly mushy. (Hence the aforementioned breakdown by Habtamu.)

Back to the grindstone today. The kids and I had a pretty good time at school today. I added a couple of new things that they liked. I thought Yordi was going to go down, but she rallied and they worked very hard. Then we went to the library, replenished our books and videos, paid a $9 fine (doh! those dvds!), and had a lovely afternoon eating popcorn and watching the Cosby Show.

Hello to the Madison, WI contingent! Thanks, Andi, and Andi's friend Kristen(?) for reading.